Back in March, we posted five award-winning screenwriters discussing how they approach their craft. Personally, I find great value in hearing from successful professional screenwriters, learning about their strengths and weaknesses, finding out what works and doesn't work for them as they work on their screenplays. After originally posting about five award-winning screenwriters, we naturally had to follow that up with five more award-winning screenwriters discussing how they approach their craft because everybody loves a sequel (right?). Grab a snack, sit back and learn from screenwriters Geoffrey Fletcher, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, Sofia Coppola, Pedro Almodóvar, and Charlie Kaufman as they share their thoughts about crafting stories, writing screenplays and navigating the business.
First, we have an interview with Geoffrey Fletcher, who spent nearly a decade writing in obscurity before getting the opportunity to adapt the novel Push by Sapphire, which became the film Precious. Fletcher's screenplay earned an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. I think many of us can relate to the lessons Fletcher has learned as he worked on his craft for so long before getting his break.
Next, we have Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, who won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar along with Alexander Payne for The Descendants. In this interview from Sundance 2013, Rash and Faxon, along with actor Liam James, discuss their directorial debut, The Way, Way Back, a project they worked on for eight years, watching it come together and fall apart several times before getting the chance to direct it themselves.
Now we turn to Sofia Coppola, perhaps best known for Lost in Translation, which earned her an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay as well as an Independent Spirit Award. Coppola talks about several different aspects of her writing and directing style, including how she listens to specific music as she writes her screenplays and the progression of this technique over the course of her writing and directing career.
Moving on, we find this following interview with renowned writer/director Pedro Almodóvar, winner of numerous awards, including the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Talk to Her, one of my personal favorites in his oeuvre. Listening to the popular novels written in English that Almodóvar tried to get the rights to adapt is fascinating and imagining each of the resulting films being done in his style will certainly warp your brain for the day.
Finally, we have a short interview with Charlie Kaufman, winner of the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Kaufman may be the most inimitable yet most relatable screenwriter for the rest of us struggling with this craft, a contradiction that seems quite fitting to me.
What lessons resonate the most for you from these screenwriter interviews? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments.
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Most useful part for me was Kaufman's answer to the first question (1 minute 15).
Writer/Directors - be wary of the shadow in pragmatism.
May 30, 2013 at 9:04AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
You guys have really ramped up the knowledge and diversity on NFS.
I LOVE IT !!!!!!
May 30, 2013 at 10:05AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
You guys are really amping up the knowledge and diversity on NFS.
I LOVE IT!!!
May 30, 2013 at 10:16AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
A comment so nice, he had to leave it twice. Thanks, David F!
May 30, 2013 at 2:30PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Bookmarking this 4ever
May 30, 2013 at 11:15AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
You sir, put together fine articles. Always a pleasure. Keep 'em coming.
May 30, 2013 at 4:48PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
Thanks, Bob. Much appreciated.
May 30, 2013 at 5:30PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
I really enjoyed both Fletcher and Kaufman's interviews. Wahst really stood out to me was what Fletcher said about constantly gaining ideas, stories through life experiences. Kaufman's declaration that the structure of film is killing the liberation of it as an art is very true. I'll keep his quote "you have to be courageous". this is defintely a courageous business and damn is killing if the years go by and we get old, have to keep the courage.
June 1, 2013 at 7:07AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM
That's not even 10 minutes well spent!
April 8, 2014 at 7:00AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
This is an amazing article. Thank you!
August 14, 2014 at 11:38PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM
Geoffery Fletcher talking about his doubts/inner voice during the time he struggled with work was quite helpful.
October 27, 2015 at 4:21PM